Only one polyphonic verse of Peñalosa’s Corpus Christi Hymn Sacris solemniis
survives—perhaps only one was ever written. In this recording, Bruno Turner’s reconstruction is used, so that for the complete Hymn Peñalosa’s polyphony alternates with the popular melody that was used in Spain from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century. The Toledo books (1515) and almost all others for over four hundred years give the tune in black breves and semibreves. The polyphony incorporates this melody in its texture in a slower time, surrounding it with lively counterpoint. For the technically minded, the tune’s original black brevis is the equivalent of the white semibrevis of the polyphony, thus this same tune, when embedded in the polyphony, is slowed threefold.
from notes by Martyn Imrie © 1993